Frugal Table Decorations

by Julie on April 16, 2007 · 1Leave a comment


We belong to a dinner club with four other couples – all neighbors and good friends. Once a year we are each responsible for hosting the dinner in our home. The host couple provides the main dish, usually one side dish, and drinks. The other couples bring the rest of the meal, from appetizers to dessert.

Last Saturday night was our turn to host. Because we’re all so busy running to our kids’ spring sports activities at this time of year, we decided weeks ago on a casual menu: burgers, chicken, and Italian sausages on the grill. Who knew when the day actually arrived that there would be snow on the ground?

I always enjoy the opportunity to set a pretty table and I try to do something a little different each time. This night I wanted the table to have the same, informal feel as the menu. Even though we only host dinner club once a year and I like to make it special, I try not to break the budget doing it. Here were my choices this time around:


For the table setting itself, I used dishes and silverware that I already owned. I borrowed glasses with a fleur de lis design and gingham napkins from my mother. The other linens I purchased new from Tuesday Morning, but I opted for placemats with a fun, ric rac border that I could use for everyday over a tablecloth that would go in my buffet until another dinner party.

I found some napkin rings that I loved at Bed Bath & Beyond, but they were $2.99/each and I wasn’t willing to add another $30 in expenses. Instead, I folded the napkins following directions I found at this website and I loved the result. I think I’ll often choose to fold napkins in creative ways, which is not only free but eliminates the need to invest in and store napkin rings in different designs.

In the “don’t sweat the small stuff” department, only eight of my dinner and salad plates were in the matching yellow, since that is all I have. The other two were white plates from another set. I considered purchasing some additional pieces of my stoneware or borrowing some yellow dishes in another pattern from a friend, but once the entire table was set – especially with the matching place mats and napkins – it was hardly noticable to me. Same with the chairs…five matched our dining room set and five were from the kitchen.

Finally, for the centerpiece I chose planted flowers over cut flowers so I could put them to use when the party was over. I bought a large pot of tulips at Costco and another pot of gerber daisies at my grocery store. I re-planted them in terracotta pots that I already had and put them in this Southern Living at Home container. After I’ve enjoyed the flowers inside for a few days and allowed the weather to warm up a bit, I’ll plant the tulips outside and put the daisies in a pot for summer.

Find more great tablescapes every Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.






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Amy April 17, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Despite you going for the informal look, your table looks so elegant! I love the napkins. Thanks for the link to that site, I am going to go check it out! You did a great job!

Sharon Haynie June 24, 2010 at 2:46 am

This table could be either-formal or informal. Love the look you've put together, I'm definately going to check out the link on napkinfolding. thanks for sharing with us!

GrannySue June 24, 2010 at 3:49 am

It looks great. What fun a supper club can be. I have a napkin folding book, but I can't seem to figure them out. I'm going to check out the site.

Kathryn @ Bonafide Southern June 24, 2010 at 5:15 am

What a great looking table! I love how you've folded your napkins. It really gives the table a special touch. Thanks for sharing and happy TT to you!

Tricia@The Dull and the Dutiful June 24, 2010 at 4:20 pm

LOL! When I read the part about "snow on the ground," I had to check to see where you live! Then I realized it was a post from the past! Your table is lovely, and I know your supper club friends enjoyed it!

Barbara June 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I did the same thing as Tricia wondering where got snow right now. :) Your table looks great and the placemats bring everything together. Thanks for the link on the sight. What fun a supper club must be!

Julie @ The Family CEO June 24, 2010 at 4:41 pm

LOL ladies! I didn't realize the post mentioned snow. No wonder you were confused! Thanks for visiting!

Mimi June 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Your table came out beautifully! Wish there was a little snow here to cool it off…oh, never mind…I would be complaining it was cold!

Bill June 25, 2010 at 2:16 am

I like the crisp look of the reds and yellows, the neatly folded napkins, the ric rac bordered placemats. Your centerpiece pulls together all the colors of your table and adds warmth and casual elegance. Nicely done!

Johanna June 26, 2010 at 4:09 am

Julie, your dinner party sounds like a wonderfull idea. I am sure your guests liked this table with its happy re and yellow colors. Thank you for the link with the napkin folder tutorial. Your napkins are prety folded. Great job.
Greetings, Johanna

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